Patchy global support for nuclear new-build

25 November 2011

A worldwide poll has shown widely varying levels of support for the use of nuclear energy. A large majority in countries that use nuclear want to keep doing so, but only a few nations showed strong support for new build.


The poll included some 23 countries and gave respondents three options for what should be done regarding the use of nuclear power plants: shut them down as soon as possible; build new ones; or keep using current plants but not build more.


The question on nuclear was one of two on energy that were part of a larger GlobeScan questionnaire conducted by telephone or face-to-face. Half of 23,231 interviewees were asked one or other of the energy questions.


Among the 12 polled nations already using the energy source, countries that expressed dominant anti-nuclear views were Germany, Mexico, Russia and Spain with respective shares of 52%, 43%, 43% and 55% opting to shut nuclear plants as soon as possible. Taking the opposite view were China, Pakistan, the UK and USA with dominant shares of 42%, 39%, 37% and 39% saying new nuclear power plants should be built.


Anti-nuclear views in Russia were noted to have more than doubled since 2005 when the same question was asked, with a corresponding drop of more than half in the number of people supporting new build.


Other countries in this sector included Brazil, France and Japan, which recorded 35%, 25% and 37% wanting nuclear plants shut down against a body of overall support of 60%, 73% and 63% choosing to either keep operating plants or build new ones. In India some 38% of people recorded no opinion with the remainder split quite evenly between the three choices.


In total the 12 countries polled that use nuclear energy counted 61% of people as supporting continued operation or new build (39% and 22%) with 30% saying nuclear should be shut down immediately.


The same question was also asked of people in countries not using nuclear energy: Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Philippines and Turkey.


Among those are four that are actively preparing to a possible start in nuclear energy. The technology was most opposed in Chile (55% calling for shutdown) and Turkey (41%). Egypt, however, saw 61% overall support for continued operation and new build; Indonesia saw 51%.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News